You’re a few weeks into your pregnancy, and you wake up in the morning with an awful taste in your mouth. You begin to salivate, and soon, you feel nauseous to the point of vomiting. You lose your appetite, and certain foods and scents suddenly trigger trips to the bathroom. To the medical community, this is a condition known as nausea gravidarum, but most people call it morning sickness.
A misnomer The term morning sickness is a misnomer, points out Ina Pelaez Crisologo, M.D., obstetrician-gynecologist at UP Philippine General Hospital. For some expectant moms, morning sickness strikes not only when they wake up, but throughout the entire day, or at times, during evenings only. It commonly occurs during the first trimester, reaching its peak on week 8 to 14 and subsiding on the 16th to 20th week of pregnancy. At times, it may last until the third trimester.
Imelda Campaña, M.D., obstetrician-gynecologist at The Medical City, adds that the symptoms differ for every woman, and even per pregnancy. Some women manage better than others. They can keep themselves from vomiting and can down their food more easily. Others, however, experience the symptoms more extremely, practically throwing up the entire day.
What causes it There is no definite explanation as to why some women undergo morning sickness and others don’t. Certain articles suggest that the baby’s sex can affect the condition (with it being more frequent if the baby is female), but Dr. Campaña says she has not heard of any credible study proving this. Studies do show that the condition is closely associated with the rise of estrogen, progesterone, and human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), a hormone produced by the placenta, which increases rapidly in the first few weeks. Aside from nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite, other symptoms may include sensitivity to smell and light and loss of sense of well-being.